Erik ten Hag allayed concerns over Bruno Fernandes’ ankle injury and even suggested the Manchester United midfielder has a chance of facing stuttering Tottenham on Thursday evening.
The 28-year-old sustained the issue in the first half of Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final win against Brighton but managed to play on until the 101st minute of the penalty shoot-out victory.
However, concerns grew over Fernandes’ fitness on Monday when his partner posted a photo of the United playmaker with his right foot elevated next to a protective boot and pair of crutches.
The Portugal international was seen at Carrington without crutches or a boot on Wednesday lunchtime but appeared to have a very slight limp, with Ten Hag suggesting he may be involved at Spurs on Thursday evening.
“There are some unavailable – (Lisandro) Martinez, (Raphael) Varane,” the United boss said.
“We have to see how Bruno Fernandes is. We don’t know yet, he’s a question mark. But I think for the rest, we are quite OK.
“We all have seen he played a full game and it happened in the first half. Thursday is quick but we have to see coming now what is possible.”
Tottenham head into the match reeling from Sunday’s 6-1 thrashing at Newcastle, which led to the sacking of acting head coach Cristian Stellini.
The 48-year-old spent less than a month at the helm after replacing Antonio Conte and Spurs have now placed Ryan Mason in charge on a temporary basis.
United have had to bounce back from disappointing results themselves this term and Ten Hag knows Tottenham will be looking to make amends.
“We had some, not so often, that we have to bounce back,” he said. “Definitely (more than I would like) but it happens with all the great teams, even Real Madrid, eh?
“It’s obvious they had a really bad defeat. Of course, then they are mad. That can be fuel for bouncing back.
“But it’s about us. An opponent can never be more hungry than we (are), so that is how we have to prepare the game.
“Make sure tomorrow we are ready to go front foot, be dominant and dictate the game.”
Whatever the disfunction at Spurs, striker Harry Kane always seems to find a way to score.
The 29-year-old has found the net 26 times in all competitions this season and is preparing to take on a club interested in bringing him in this summer.
“It’s quite clear his impact on the game from Spurs,” United boss Ten Hag said.
“We have a plan of course for that. The home game we did very well, so for tomorrow we need a very good plan as well.
“You have to defend him as a team. He’s a clever player, so don’t allow him to come into situations. He can have a big impact on the game.”
United are fourth in the Premier League ahead of Thursday’s match against their top-four rivals.
With a six-point cushion and two games in hand on Spurs, the Red Devils will take a giant stride towards Champions League qualification with victory in the capital.
“Very (significant),” Ten Hag said of the impact of winning on Thursday. “When you see the table, then it’s quite clear.
“But our approach will not change. Our approach is we want to win every game, it doesn’t matter who the opponent is.”
Published: by Radio NewsHub